If it is big band music at its finest you are after, then look no further than the fifth album release from the exciting US 18-piece, The Bicoastal Collective.Since joining forces in 2008, trumpeter Paul Tynan and baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington have recorded a series of acclaimed albums ranging in instrumentation from tentet to sextet, and a quintet featuring a Hammond B-3 organist.“Chapter Five” is their fifth album and the first with a full 18-piece big band, adding a sumptuous new volume to the duo’s impressive discography. The pair share writing and arranging credits on this and on their previous output. Each contributed four compositions here, and they deliver a highly original take on the trumpet-baritone frontline tradition pioneered by the jazz greats who inspired them, such as Thad Jones-Pepper Adams and Chet Baker-Gerry Mulligan.
The name Bicoastal Collective comes from the fact the pair live on opposite sides of North America, but have remained friends over the decades since meeting at University of North Texas, where both began work on their Master’s degrees in 1998. Both also played in the ‘One O’Cock Lab’ band, a year apart.Tynan lives in Nova Scotia where he is a Professor at St Francis Xavier University, while Lington is Coordinator of Jazz Studies at San Jose State University in California.  They began recording together when they were both in San Jose in 2008, and on Lington’s recommendation, Tynan spent a sabbatical year teaching at San Jose State and Chabot College, and playing around Northern California with the likes of Poncho Sanchez, Keely Smith and Lington.
The two day sessions for Chapter Five were arranged for a mid-continental point of Dallas, in July of 2016, with 16 hand-picked players. A lot of the players are people the pair went to school with, best friends or people they had worked with in the past. The styles on “Chapter Five” range from the extremely swinging “Two Views,” the hypnotic groove of “I Remember Every Day”, “Charting Stars” showcasing Tynan’s warm flugelhorn solos and David Lown’s soulful tenor saxophone. The sweet ballad, “Karma’s Song”, shines the spotlight on Lington’s skilful, rich and at times, biting baritone sax work. Drummer Stockton Helbing is on his game on Tynan’s pacey “More Than Just a Single Road.”
Mr Lington played tenor sax for rock and roll legend Bo Diddley on a few tours, while he was doing undergraduate work at the University of Houston. His charts have been performed by the Maynard Ferguson Big Bop Noveau Band, The Count Basie Orchestra and by the Pacific Mambo Orchestra of which he is a member.  Four of the numbers on the 19-member Mambo Orchestra’s 2014 Grammy-winning debut album were arranged by Lington.
On “Chapter Five”, his funky groove-soaked “Sup?” is a standout,  with Ken Edwards on trumpet and trombonist Carl Lundgren sprinkling some magic dust on proceedings. The highlight for many will be “Four Taiwanese Folk Melodies”, a lengthy outing at just over 15 minutes in duration.
Both Tynan and Lington, now in their 40s, are formidable musicians, composers, arrangers and band leaders, and have pulled off a wonderful feat here with this world class ensemble and their musical wares. No fat; the arrangements tight as tight can be and the energy never dips. Plenty of light and shade between the pacier tunes and the slower numbers too. A measured and well thought out set.
They are already planning their next move; a trumpet-baritone-bass and drums set with no pianist, using the same instrumentation as Gerry Mulligan’s famous piano-less quartet, but with their own twist on it. But for now, the eight tracks and the one hour, five minutes and 19 seconds of music on “Chapter Five” is the main focus –  a refreshing big band album that truly deserves widespread attention.
–Simon Redley, Music Republic Magazine, 4/5 STARS

Chapter Five is the fifth recording by Paul Tynan / Aaron Lington‘s Bicoastal Collective, which derives its name from the fact that trumpeter Tynan lives in Nova Scotia, saxophonist Lington in San Jose, CA. What sets this CD apart from the others is that the Collective has morphed from a smaller version to a full-fledged eighteen- piece big band.
The music remains essentially the same with four compositions by Tynan and four by Lington, all of which draw their inspiration from the classic big-band canon. That impetus, however, is taken to some new and interesting places, perhaps best exemplified by Lington’s expansive yet unassuming “Four Taiwanese Folk Melodies” (which collectively run for more than fifteen minutes) or Tynan’s darkly meditative “Karma’s Song,” written, he says, for one of his best friends.
While Tynan and Lington, friends since their days together in the University of North Texas’ famed One O’Clock Lab Band, assume the lion’s share of solos, tenor saxophonist Dave Lown is showcased on Tynan’s cordial “Charting Stars” and guitarist Noel Johnson complements Lington’s husky baritone on the latter’s “I Remember Every Day.” Tynan, Lington and drummer Stockton Helbing are front and center on Tynan’s fast-moving “More Than Just a Single Road,” Lington, pianist Josh Hanlon and alto Bobby Selvaggio on his easy-riding “Little Wheels.” Lington wrote the snappy opener, “Two Views,” with (soloists) Tynan and Helbing in mind, while trumpeter Ken Edwards and trombonist Carl Lundgren add indispensable grit to his funky “‘Sup?”
Lington, Selvaggio (soprano), tenor Marcus Wolfe and alto Steve Jones are the solo voices on the “Taiwanese Folk Melodies,” whose movements advance from medium swing to rapid jazz waltz, a horn chorale with Lington’s a cappella baritone, and a three-quarter-time ballad feature for Jones. Those who have encountered the Bicoastal Collective before shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Chapter Five is as laudable as its precursors; those who haven’t had the pleasure should hang loose and make themselves ready for a splendid listening experience.
–Jack Bowers, All About Jazz, 4/5 STARS

PAUL TYNAN & AARON LINGTON BICOASTAL COLLECTIVE/Chapter Five:  Those hyper creative Lab Band alums change it up for a fifth time on their fifth album not only showing that you can’t hit a moving target but that they love and understand big band.  Respecting tradition but having a sound and vision all their own, this windy front line pair know well how to make that sweeping sound that keeps big band appeal in timeless mode, even when moving forward like it does here.  Proving once again they are first class leaders and players, this high water mark session hits all the right notes giving them a resonance that echoes well.  A most welcome, killer date throughout.
–Midwest Record

“First rate beautiful writing and playing…”
–Randy Brecker

The full saxophone complement [in the California Symphony] returned for Bernstein’s “Prelude, Fugue and Riffs,” which brought the program’s first half to a raucous conclusion. Cabrera tore into the composer’s brassy Prelude, and held the swinging saxophone Fugue and Riffs for the full ensemble together with pinpoint timing and plenty of brio. Clarinetist Mark Brandenburg, featured in the part written for Woody Herman, sounded tremendous. So did those saxophones, and let’s name them all here: in addition to Henderson, they were Aaron Lington, Ricardo Martinez, Kevin Stewart, and Dale Wolford.
–Georgia Rowe, San Jose Mercury News

The Tommy Igoe Groove Conspiracy, the drummer/bandleader’s 15-piece collective, is all about big: big band, big sound, the big buzz they’ve generated during their Tuesday-night residency at Yoshi’s in the Bay Area. The band’s self-titled debut recording doesn’t stint on size, either. It’s a bold, brassy collection of R&B and funk-inflected tracks with no shortage of speed, soul and swing.
Igoe’s drumming, splashy and full of hard-hitting runs, solidly supports the ensemble, but the bandleader is happy to largely cede the spotlight to a gifted collection of musicians. Standouts include trombonist John Gove, whose fat tone and nimble slide work liven up Bob Berg’s “Friday Night at the Cadillac Club”; trumpeter Dave Len Scott, doing Arturo Sandoval proud on the Cuban maestro’s exultant “Caprichosos De La Habana”; and alto saxophonist Marc Russo, who wails jubilantly on “Mercy Mercy Mercy” and “Let the Good Times Roll.” Russo is joined on the latter by guest vocalist Kenny Washington, who also rings forth with a joyful wordless solo on “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” his crystal-clear voice a pleasing contrast to Aaron Lington’s deep-in-the-pocket baritone sax.
But thinking back on The Tommy Igoe Groove Conspiracy, it’s less the solos one remembers than the sheer driving force of the booming unison brass-and-reeds arrangements. Whether darting their fleet-footed way through the intricate lines of Joshua Redman’s “Jazz Crimes” or having a ball on guest bassist Michael League’s (Snarky Puppy) richly funk-ified “Quarter Master” (on which Igoe cuts loose with a ripping march-cadence solo), the TIGC brings high-flying energy and exhilarating musicianship to the table.
–Matt Lohr, Jazz Times

“We have a great core group of writers,” Igoe says. “Aaron Lington is such a pro.”
–Andrew Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News, interview with drummer and bandleader Tommy Igoe

Trumpet/flugelhornist Paul Tynan and baritone saxist Aaron Lington create a lava thick front line for a vintage Hammond B3 outing [on BC4] with Tony Genge/B3, Jake Hanlon/g and Terry O’Mahoney/dr. The horns create a funky boogaloo as on “Un Petit Peu De Gras” and shuffle off to Buffalo on “L’s Groove” with finger licking picking by Hanlon. Lington’s tone fills the room with his rich sound on “Nostalgic” and goes bel canto on the ballad “Woodside.” The rhythm team snaps and sizzles on the bluesy bopper “Pipe Down” and Genge pops the clutch into overdrive on”Lower Sackville Blues.” Musical comfort food to let you sit and savor for awhile!
–George Harris,

“Excellent writing and of course playing!”
–David Liebman

[Tommy Igoe’s Groove Conspiracy] channels The Atomic Mr. Basie on baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington’s swinging arrangement of Quincy Jones’ “Jessica’s Day.”
–Bill Milkowski, Downbeat Magazine, January 2015

Trumpeter Paul Tynan and baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington first met more than fifteen years ago when they were grad students at the University of North Texas in Denton. After gigging separately for a few years, they formed the Bicoastal Collective about a decade ago and have been playing and recording together ever since. This could reasonably be called the Binational Collective, as four of the five musicians on Chaper Four are Canadian, with Lington the lone American. He lives in California, Tynan in Nova Scotia, some 3,800 miles to the east. On this “nostalgic” studio session (also the name of one of the seven tracks), the front-liners are reinforced, “collectively,” by organist Tony Genge, guitarist Jake Hanlon and drummer Terry O’Mahoney.
The word nostalgic is used to denote the album’s rear-view character, which, instead of “back to the future” is more akin to “forward to the past,” focusing as it does on the sort of bop-induced themes popularized in the ’50s and ’60s by such labels as Blue Note, Prestige and others. With Genge on board, it hearkens back to the heyday of Jimmy Smith, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Jack McDuff, Don Patterson, Jimmy McGriff and their contemporaries. Even though all of the songs on Chapter Four were written by Lington (four) or Tynan, they are designed to rekindle dormant memories of the free-wheeling grooves laid down by those Hammond B3 masters of years gone by. They are, in Lington’s words, however, “conceptually modern. The musicians, the harmonies, the rhythmic concept and the arrangements were all conceived without setting any boxes for ourselves.”
That is clear from the outset, as Lington’s “Un Petit Peu de Gras” sets a bluesy compass on which Genge shows his mettle with a sure-handed opening solo. “Nostalgic,” Lington writes, is a bow to the Golden Age of American songwriting (Porter, Berlin and the like), while Tynan’s even-tempered “L’s Groove” was written not for Lington but for Tynan’s daughter, Linnea. “Woodside,” named for a community near Halifax, is a genial ballad with expressive solos by Lington, Tynan and Genge. “Lower Sackville Blues,” a last-minute addition, is welcome for a number of reasons, one of which is that it expands the album’s playing time to fifty-eight minutes. More to the point, it’s a taut, fast-moving vehicle that sets the stage neatly for Tynan’s closing numbers, “Pipe Down” and “Metaphor,” the last based on Miles Davis‘ bop classic, “Four.”
Individually or collectively, these are five first-class musicians, and their expertise and rapport are explicitly manifest on every page of Chapter Four. Let us hope the book has not been closed on the Collective, and that there are more chapters yet to come.
–Jack Bowers, All About Jazz, May 31, 2014

PAUL TYNAN & AARON LINGTON/Bicoastal Collective Chapter Four: At the very least, this set is going to ping the atavistic genes in anyone that ever dug the peppy, poppy sound of greasy organ jazz bands. While the sax/trumpet duo still leads the way, they give equal time to their fellow post boppers to step up and take you back to the day. Insanely tasty and on the mark without feeling like an homage or other such silliness, this is a fine showcase for players what am [sic]. Fun stuff that’s sure to delight.
–Midwest Record

The third installment in the exciting and energetic Bicoastal Collective’s oeuvre, simply entitled Chapter Three, maintains the same combination of memorable compositions and engaging improvisations that characterized the first two records. Co-led by Antigonish (Nova Scotia)-based trumpeter Paul Tynan and San Franciscan baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington, the sextet works through six originals, each with its own unique flavor, yet all solidly in the mainstream post-bop tradition. The high point of this delightful album is the cinematic, Tynan-penned “Painting.” This intriguing piece, filled with dark, lilting tones and subtle, Eastern accents, demonstrates the camaraderie between the ensemble members, as well as their prowess as soloists. Tynan’s clean mellow horn radiates nocturnesque vibes, especially when buoyed by the electrical and ethereal pairing of guitar and Fender Rhodes. Vancouver-born and Cleveland-settled Ashley Summers’ lyrical and sinewy bass brings a mystical element to the tune. Meanwhile, Lington’s mordant and intricate baritone flirts with freer styles.
Lington’s own bluesy “Folklike” features Chicagoan Dan Murphy’s soulful and gritty keys and Salt Lake City native Corey Christensen’s tight, Jimi Hendrix-inspired guitar. Tynan’s burnished trumpet blows over the simmering rhythms like a cool breeze. Christensen brings a strong sense of soulful harmony to the atmospheric “Tgok,” while Murphy’s bright and shimmering Fender Rhodes help enhance the fusion-esque groove of this hypnotic ballad. Murphy’s tight and intricate solo on the spirited “Stat” unfolds over fellow Chicago denizen Jon Deitemyer’s galvanizing drum work.
Deitemyer exhibits his elegant and reserved touch with the quiet whispers of the brushes on Lington’s languid “Emergence,” anchoring the group’s orchestral sounds. Elsewhere Lington’s mellifluous and sophisticated baritone on his, vaguely Latin “Zephyr” enhances the romantic mood set by Summers’ deeply passionate and resonant pizzicato notes. This stimulating disc strikes a satisfying a balance between accessibility and innovation.
––Hrayr Attarian,

Paul Tynan & Aaron Lington: Bicoastal Collective: Chapter Three (2011 [2012], OA2): Trumpet and baritone sax, respectively, the collective a sextet with Rhodes (Dan Murphy), guitar (Corey Christiansen), bass [Ashley Summers], and drums [Jon Deitemyer]; third album together, recorded in “flyover” territory in Indiana. Smart postbop, nice attention to detail.
—Tom Hull, Jazz Prospecting, Jan 2013

Blazing unison lines open this high-energy collection of original [sextet] music. The razor-sharp focus of trumpeter Paul Tynan and baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington, both co-leaders and composers for the disc, is quickly revealed on the opening track “Folklike.” The music for their third installment of the Bicoastal Collective may be far removed from the Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams idea of a trumpet/baritone front line, but no less engaging. Lington and Tynan both write with a lyrical flair and an awareness for meaty solo space that is eagerly devoured. Both leaders solo exceptionally, especially on Tynan’s waltz “Tgok” and Lington’s swinging “Zephyr.” Guitarist Corey Christiansen steals the show with blistering, distorted phrases on “Stat.” Dan Murphy on Rhodes, Ashley Summers on bass and drummer Jon Deitemyer contribute fervently to this dynamic release.
—John Barron,

The one piece from this program that I’ve since revisited simply for pleasure’s sake is David Biedenbender’s saxophone quartet you’ve been talking in your sleep, performed by the Premiere Saxophone Quartet. In his spoken intro, Biedenbender described one section as being like space alien funk, and indeed the whole single-movement piece explodes into a strange and super groovy late-night sax dance party after some quietly sighing pitch bends in the opening to set the scene. While most of the work is built on complex interlocking rhythmic patterns, there are two homophonic sections that reveal just how precise and virtuosic the performers need to be. (A special shout-out to Aaron Lington, whose nimble baritone sax playing provided an always solid ground for the quartet to work from.) At the end of the piece, Biedenbender sends the soprano sax up into the stratosphere with some screams that were shockingly eyebrow-raising, with pitch bends that echoed the opening but to completely different effect.
—Sidney Chen, New Music Box

PAUL TYNAN & AARON LINGTON/Bicoastal Collective Chapter Three: Here’s a post bop set with it’s own special sauce that’s going to sneak up and catch you from behind. With a veneer that feels like a minimalist vibe, it’s anything but. Turns out this is a sly, contemporary blowing date. Surrounding themselves with improvisers that don’t normally play together but find the common ground to click here, this set of originals has what it takes to make you pay attention to something new and different without thinking twice. Snazzy, jazzy and right in the pocket, it’s adventurous without being too left leaning, but hip enough to keep the hipsters satisfied. Slice it anyway you want, this is a solid set of tasty, contemporary jazz with accent on blowing front and center. Well done.
—Midwest Record Entertainment

“The “BiCoastal…” recordings are each of them truly creative.  The writing, the performances by all…great stuff.”
—Ron Pelletier, KCSM 91.1 FM

…The overall flavor of the arrangments honors these classic New York bands with some swinging Mambos and [Lington’s] beautiful bolero, Bolero Cocomo, which may help bring that dance back into more clubs if enough people hear how this band interprets it.   However, there are also some modern touches:  some drum kit and electric guitar work on a few tracks that you would not have heard in the ’50’s, [Lington’s] English-language Salsa piece, Overjoyed, and a novel Bachata arrangment, Querer Como Ayer make it clear that the group isn’t merely another revival band. Modern touches aside, the thing that really makes this recording work for us is the depth and beauty of the arrangements, particularly in the saxophone section.  This is what big bands are supposed to be about – a full, rich sound that leaves you and the room satisfied.   Right now, this ensemble  is primarily a Bay Area phenomenon, but if it survives the perils that constantly threaten all groups of this size, we think that it’s just a matter of time before it achieves national attention.
—Bill Tilford,

…[shows] a true command of his instrument with a very studied and soulful essence.
—Josh Davies, International Trumpet Guild Journal – October 2011, p. 91

Aaron Lington [played a] suave baritone sax…
—David Bratman, San Francisco Classical Voice, October 3, 2011

…gorgeous solos by baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington…
—Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News, October 2, 2011

On [Bicoastal Collective: Chapter Two] the piano is replaced by guitar, and Aaron Lington in the “tenor chair” is sporting a baritone. He’s got a rude, rich sound on the instrument that plays well off the delicacy of the rest of the 5tet. The heart of the recording is “The Ravenspurn Collection,” a suite of six English folk tunes arranged anew by [Lington]. This suite is based on Ralph Vaughan Williams’s composition “Six Studies in English Folksong for Cello and Piano,” but rather than a jazz arrangement of the Vaughan Williams pieces, [Lington] has gone back to the root materials to find vehicles for improvisation. Yet despite the Celtic sources, Tynan and Lington and compatriots come up with a wonderful and totally American jazz sound, and it makes [Chapter Two] a solid mainstream set based on some sweet melodic improvisation.
—Phillip McNally, Cadence – Jan-Feb-Mar 2011, Vol. 37, Nos. 1-2-3, p. 271

Trumpeter Paul Tynan and baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington met while both men were students at North Texas State (home to one of the major college jazz studies programs) in the late 1990s. Their second release together, with guitarist Scott Sorkin, bassist John Shifflett and drummer Jason Lewis, has an unusual centerpiece: Lington’s adaptations of English folk tunes arranged by classical composer Ralph Vaughn Williams as “Six Studies in English Folksong for Cello and Piano,” though because of changes in key, tempos and the length of certain phrases (while retaining most of the melodies), he retitled them as “The Ravenspurn Collection.” The opening selection, “Lovely on the Water,” is reshaped into a driving intense blues with relatively calm solos by Tynan and Sorkin bracketing Lington’s furious Pepper Adams-like baritone. The hymn-like sound of “The Lady and the Dragoon” should come as no surprise, as Vaughan Williams wrote a number of sacred works and hymns during his long career; Lington’s majestic baritone and Tynan’s subdued flugelhorn, with the closing phrase incorporating the traditional melody “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.” The up tempo “As I Walked Over London Bridge” provides a startling contrast, with sparkling solos in a decidedly post-bop setting. The music throughout this enjoyable CD keeps revealing new facets with each hearing. 4 1/2 Stars.
—Ken Dryden, All Music Guide

Trumpeter Paul Tynan and saxophonist Aaron Lington on this first of hopefully many releases of their Bicoastal Collective, a group formed from the relationship forged at the University of North Texas in the late 1990s. Despite living many time zones apart, Tynan and Lington seem to be neighbors in their love of heady jazz, as the tracks on this album display their talents as both modern composers and as strong mainstream improvisers. Counterpoint and lush voicings are replete throughout and the term “collective” applies not only to the egalitarian treatment of the group at large, but also to their modern use of early-jazz improvisational technique. A fine instance of Tynan and Lington employing said technique is heard during the fourth movement of Tynan’s seven-movement Story of Langston Suite, his musical autobiography of the influences that have led him to his current position as associate professor of jazz studies at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. Tynan’s compositional pedigree from the big band program at North Texas is in full view, as his writing for ten instruments often makes them sound like twenty; and the smoothness with which one section of a tune flows to another is so well conceived that it is at times difficult for the casual listener to keep track of where they have been from section to section or tune to tune. Nonetheless, while this is an album that could be enjoyed for its surface prettiness, like most of the best jazz, it requires multiple hearings to unlock its true beauty.
—Adam Gaines, Professor of Jazz Trumpet, University of Wisconsin; ITG Journal, June 2010 (Vol. 34, No. 4)

Based upon a musical and personal friendship forged while studying at North Texas State University, Nova Scotia-­‐based trumpeter Paul Tynan and San Jose-­‐based baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington formed the Bicoastal Collective, a tentet composed of players from locales like the Bay Area, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Nova Scotia, Iowa, and Texas. Putting aside the dizzying details of getting all of these folks into a studio, much less on tour, the group comes across as one that has been playing together for a long time and, further, create a rich full sound that belies their rather small instrumental size. As for the compositions, they speak to the “Modern Mainstream Big Band” type of writing that seems rather popular at present (with Gil Evans as its icon). The majority of the record’s playing time centers around Tynan’s seven-­‐movement suite, “Story of Langston Suite.” The series embraces a cross-section of moods in its homage to “musicians and educators” that influenced Tynan, with plenty of focus on the leaders; Tynan and Lington both excel on “The 4th Letter” and “Six Years,” and there are also strong solo spotlights for guitarist Kevin Brunkhorst on “Dub’s Lament,” pianist Stefan Karlsson on “Chanting for Staples,” and altoist Bobby Selvaggio on the spirited “Red Beard’s Romp.” The suite is really a testament to the rich tapestries painted by Tynan, as well as his sprightly solo work throughout (with several turns obviously influenced by Kenny Wheeler). The remaining pieces by Lington are also worthwhile exercises, with the midtempo Jazz colors starting off the program on “The Gauntlet,” as well as the introspective closer, “March of the Pariahs,” a feature for some of Tynan’s best work. The result is a document of modern enlarged ensemble Jazz filled with adept writing and excellent trumpet/flugelhorn work from Tynan.
—Jay Collins, Cadence

Originally hailing from San Francisco and Nova Scotia, the co-leaders of the newly-minted Bicoastal Collective (Paul Tynan and Aaron Lington) met in Texas and later formed a band with college acquaintances, also hailing from throughout North America. After an introductory (and outstanding) jazz waltz that sounds like a small big band is at work, the collective moves into a long series of pieces showcasing elements of sound throughout trumpeter Paul Tynan’s development and career. The movements build slowly one by one, increasing in energy and in ornamentation as they go, and increasing the influence of the trumpet to the overall sound. This is where the album really starts to pick up. Bit by bit, the band adds their individual elements, growing careful grooves and solos along the way. The collection of instruments in the band gives a nice range of possible coloration to the affair, and the bandleaders make full use of that along the way with their compositions (all originals on the album). The color is there throughout, though the energy ebbs and flows a bit. There’s a lot of potential in the outfit and in the concept, but there’s more development to be had still. Be on the lookout for a future “Chapter Two” and see where the collective has gone.
—Adam Greenberg, All Music Guide

As I’ve mentioned before, there are a large number of enormously talented yet largely unsung Jazz musicians hidden in various nooks and crannies all over this great country of ours, and here are five more, capably led by baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington. I can’t say much about the album (there are no liner notes) aside from the fact that it was recorded in San Jose, CA, and that all of the compositions are Lington’s. What I do know from listening is that Lington and his companions are topnotch musicians who deserve a far wider audience than this enterprise is likely to draw. If comparisons are to be made, one must concede that Lington is a stylistic and sonic replica of the late Nick Brignola, while trumpeter Paul Tynan has the technical fluency and crystalline sound of a Bobby Shew or Marvin Stamm. Similarities aside, each has his own message to impart, and does so quite persuasively. I said these were five talented musicians, an observation that bears repeating. The rhythm section is exceedingly perceptive and compatible, while pianist Dahveed Behroozi is a classy soloist who bears watching (and rewards listening). While none of Lington’s compositions are likely to become a standard, Jazz or otherwise, each of them is pleasant enough and serves its purpose, which is to give the players a well-equipped stage on which to perform. These gentlemen are by no means amateurs, and this is a pleasurable album of largely mellow, yet invigorating post-Bop Jazz.
—Jack Bowers, Cadence – August 2006, Vol. 32, No. 8, p. 112

Baritone saxophonist Aaron Lington was revelatory. He obviously relishes the beautiful, blustery bark of his instrument and his solos careened through the music, rubbing against the orchestra.
—Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News

Aaron Lington has a distinctive voice on the baritone saxophone. He plays it with the grace and precision of a smaller horn. His ideas are filled with the richness of the saxophone tradition, yet are uniquely his, presented in a modern framework. Lington’s compositions have interesting melodic shapes and colorful harmonies. His playing and his composing deserve to be heard and experienced by a much wider audience. Hopefully with his new CD, Cape Breton, he will do just that.
Woody Witt, Apria Records Recording Artist

[Cape Breton] is a CD for jazz lovers who want to kick back and be engulfed with comfortable fresh sounds and swinging combo jazz. What a fine concept – perfectly executed.
–Ron Lipka, International Trumpet Guild Journal, March 2007

The Baritone Saxophone, with its deep, low-end range, does not find itself the center of attention very often. There are simply too few practitioners at the soloist level. Thus a new voice on the instrument is definitely worth noting. But Mr. Lington’s album is much more than a showcase for the instrument, though he does play it amazingly well. Cape Breton is an ensemble record on which the leader presents a well-conceived collection of original music played to perfection by a swinging Bay Area jazz quintet. The character of the album is one that would suit both those of the connoisseur and those who just appreciate the sound of swinging, spacious jazz music.
–Andrew Lienhard,

On VIBE OVER PERFECTION, Jamie Davis creates a classy, intimate setting that spotlights his vocal range –  tenor, baritone and  bass – on 9 great standards. Davis is blessed with an exquisite, full-bodied voice that swings, soothes and seduces with strong sonority. The songs are technically proficient, sweet, powerful and melodic, and leave you feeling really good! His updates of such great standards as “Blue Skies,” “Move To The Outskirts of Town,” and Sly Stone’s “If You Want Me To Stay” swing with easy, jazzy rhythms, while his approach to one of the greatest ballads ever written – “Round Midnight” – is an innovative experience that features his artistry and mastery of singing jazz with bluesy passion and soulful yearning. Accompanied by a wonderful orchestra conducted by Shelly Berg, Davis gets inside of each song and makes them pleasing and entertaining. Davis gives “Hello” (the huge hit for Lionel Ritchie) a brand new style and emotional feeling that proves his ability to interpret songs from a wide array of musical genres.  This song is absolutely beautiful and Shelly Berg does an excellent job with the solid jazz arrangement by Aaron Lington. “Nature Boy” swings hard to complete this dynamic set yet offers the listener another reason to hit that replay button! Check it out. VIBE OVER PERFECTION is amazing in every way and should be in your jazz collection.

A truly stunning arrangement of Lionel Richie’s “Hello” is [Vibe over Perfection’s] highest point. Davis caresses the lyrics and the longing in his voice is accentuated by subtle variations in his timbre and by the accompaniment whose sound on this cut can best be described as haunting hopefulness.
The Daily Republic, August 1, 2008

Jamie Davis is one of a dying breed – a true, big band jazz singer who carries the flame championed by the likes of Johnny Hartman, Jimmy Witherspoon, Joe Williams, Big Joe Turner and Jimmy Rushing. Like all those past masters, San Francisco’s Davis knows how to make his material swing and when his soulful vocals are supported by a sympathetic big band, there are fewer sounds more satisfying in modern popular music. Here the band –made up chiefly of players that go on the road as the Count Basie Orchestra – is magnificent and on a varied selection of tunes taken from the great American song book (old and new), singer and players do create the elusive and magical vibe implied in the LP’s title. Familiar standards like ‘Pennies From Heaven’ and ‘Blue Skies’ swing like they’ve rarely swung before while on modern pop classics – like Burt Bacharach’s ‘The Look Of Love’ -Davis forces you to look at the tune in a whole new way. Soul collectors will need to grab a listen too to there working of Lou Rawls’ ever-lovely ‘You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine’. Faster, bigger and much brasher than the original, it proves that a good, well-crafted song will always satisfy, intrigue and reveal new nuances no matter what its setting. The most remarkable cut here though is a version of Lionel Ritchie’s ‘Hello’. Often(and many would say rightly) the song is dismissed as maudlin and overwrought, but Aaron Lington’s arrangement creates an appropriate level of sensitivity without resort to cloying sentimentality. The other featured songs are the jazz standard ‘Round Midnight’, the blues classic ‘I’m Going To Move To The Outskirts Of Town’, the perennial ‘Nature Boy’ and Sly Stone’s ‘If You Want Me To Stay’. In 1968 the great Jackie Wilson recorded a remarkable album with Count Basie; if you liked that – I’m confident that you’ll dig this one too.

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